Monday, April 27, 2009

Okay, enough whining!

This is something I have to tell myself from time to time. But there are times when it seems everything is just piling up so that there is no way to come out on top. When I start feeling this way, I usually turn to one of my projects. This past week I finally finished the sweater for my Mom, even got it mailed out yesterday. It's not the sweater I started out to make for her, I may make that one for Christmas. This was actually a sweater that I started for my sister-in-law for this past Christmas, but didn't get finished in time. My Mom admired it then, so when the other sweater I had started for her just wasn't working out, my middle son reminded me of this one and how much Mom liked it. It was already mostly done, and so I was able to get it finished in time, all I had to do was finish the trim on the sleeves, increase the length, and add a border along the front edges. The yarn was a rayon that was hand painted in shades of deep pink/mauve and blues on a cream colored background. I forgot to take a picture before I mailed it out, but I'll try to get a picture of Mom wearing it to post here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another day, more frogging done...

Okay, started a sweater for my Mom's birthday. She's great, and I love her, but she's not the easiest person when it comes to gifts. We have very different taste when it comes to clothing and while I might enjoy a sweater in an interesting color or style, she prefers something that can be worn with everything in her closet, something very neutral, and something that is wash and wear. So instead of using something from my stash, I bought some Vanna's choice in a color called Pearl Mist and started knitting. I'd been working on it for several days and then found that I had made an error several rows before. It wasn't a catastrophic error, but it was bugging me, so I decided to un-knit a few rows and fix it. But the more I un-knitted, the more errors I found. (I would often fall asleep while working on the sweater, as I said a very neutral color.) Finally I said the heck with, or words to that effect and just ripped the whole thing out! I'll save the yarn and maybe try the sweater again in the fall. So now I'm in the process of finishing a spring/summer cardi that I had, in fact, started last fall for my sister-in-law. I ended up giving her something else for Christmas as I hadn't finished this cardigan, but my son reminded me that my Mom had really liked it when she saw me working on it. Sooo, with a few alterations for sizing, I will hopefully get this gift finished in time for her birthday later this month. Actually, I have a much better chance of finishing this cardigan than I would have had finishing the other sweater, so maybe the errors were really for the best!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

How to Survive With Your Mind (Mostly) Intact

I think the thing that is most important is to keep your mind busy, even if you can't do much physically. I was unable to move about much, so I turned to crocheting, something I've been doing since I was a child. I made blankets, lots of BIG blankets, for my sons, my Mom, my brother, etc. I'm talking blankets so big they covered my 6'2" sons from head to toe with room left over to tuck the blanket in on both ends. I let them choose their own colors and I think that the colors they chose where really interesting. It was really fun to see their interest grow as their blanket got closer and closer to completion. And it is very gratifying to know that their blankets are always on their beds, except when they want a blanket downstairs to cuddle under while they watch a movie. After I had made blankets for most of my family, I started to think about knitting. I'd wanted to try it for some time, but of course with work, I'd never found the time. But now, with all this time on my hands, I thought why not? I found a web site that has very extensive and easy to understand instructions with clear illustrations, bought a kit that was titled, "I can't believe I'm knitting!" from my local Walmart, and some yarn, and then I was on my way. Just a matter of keeping mind and hands busy together.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Okay, here it is, my first blog! (Not sure if I should laugh or cry)

I've got to admit, I never thought I'd be a "blogger". I've never had anything against the idea, just didn't think it was for me. But as the title of my blog says, I needed something to help me keep my sanity. My life had gone along pretty well for the first 30 years. Good childhood, met and married what seemed like a good steady guy, had 3 great boys and even went back to school and got an education (I'm an RN). But somewhere along the way, my life became a soap opera. My husband started cheating on me with my brother's wife (honest!), and as he obviously liked variety, he checked out a few other married women. So fast forward a few months, and he finally moves out of the house, on Father's Day! But life did go on, and after some adjustment, I found out that my boys and I were actually happier without him living with us. We settled back down, I kept working (thank goodness for that education!), and of course taking care of my boys. Fast forward a few years, and I find out that my oldest son is not just depressed, but is bipolar. While this did explain so much about the problems the poor kid was having, it was still a pretty traumatic event for us. But again, we hung in there, adjusted some more, my son took his meds and life evened back out. Now along the way, and I can't imagine a woman out there who would not understand this, my weight kept climbing. I had gestational diabetes with two of my pregnancies, and was told then that I would probably become diabetic within 10 years. The prediction was unfortunately accurate, and so I added diabetes to the growing list of health problems associated with obesity that I already had such as high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. Fast forward again to 2005. I start having this lovely happening after meals: if I stood up or was too active after meals, I would throw up, repeatedly, until it was only dry heaves. Needless to say, not something I wanted to keep doing. After a false diagnosis at my small local hospital, I finally found out I had a large ventral hernia. For the hernia repair surgery to be successful, I needed to loose weight. I weighed 425 pounds at the time. My insurance, of course, wouldn't pay for gastric bypass surgery. I finally meet a surgeon who agreed to do the hernia repair, and to basically "throw" the gastric bypass in for free. But, as we all know, things could not possibly go smoothly. A week after surgery, although I was having no problems as far at the gastric bypass surgery is concerned, I started to notice an odor, sort of like rotted broccoli, around my wound. Yup, major wound infection that leads to the wound, which stretches from sternum to pelvis, being reopened and debrided. Then the wound was left open to heal from the inside out. The wound required dressing changes (long, complex, tiring, painful) twice a day. Before I had the surgery I had been working for a home health agency, so of course they are the ones I had called in to take care of me. Only problem--my home health agency was not covered by the insurance I had through that home health agency as an employee! Believe me, was confusing to me, also. By the time I learned this, the nurses had been coming out a week, and I found out that I was going to have to pay for all that time out of my pocket. Eventually, once I knew I wouldn't be able to go back to work anytime in the near future, I had to resign my position at the home health agency and apply for Medicaid and my nurses and supplies were again covered. Okay, fast forward again, to a year later, fall of 2006. I get to have another hernia repair, this one more permanent as I had lost 125 pounds. But guess what? The first surgery wasn't just a fluke--I again end up with wound infections and a huge abscess that led to 3 other surgeries. It again took a year for the huge, gaping wound to heal, then in the fall of 2007, a plastic surgeon takes off 18 pounds of excess skin from my abdomen, the loose skin from where I had lost weight. Unfortunately, I still had trouble healing, but at least that time, it's a more closed wound and not nearly as large, so I could at least handle the dressing changes alone. But I was also left to deal with chronic pain that the surgeons think is due to scar tissue from the many surgeries. And to make life even better, I learned that perhaps I'm not just depressed, I'm also bipolar, and all these stressful events over the past few years have brought it out. So I got to add some more medicine to my already overcrowded medicine box, and just wait to see what the next even will be in my soap opera life. To make it through all this, and to keep my hands and mind busy, I had to find something that I could do while recovering. (Next blog: what I've done with my time over the past few years, since I'm still unable to work, and no, I haven't turned to a life of crime)